If not totally evident from his Harley Sportster and super-mullet of silver lion’s mane, Aussie winemaker Bob Berton is a bit of a renegade. He enjoys taking risks and has built an impressive resume of making these risks pay off.
Bob Berton had been an executive for several of Australia’s top wineries, when during a mid-life crisis in 1995, Berton and his wife, Cherie, packed up and moved their family to a barren patch of dirt in the High Eden Valley (sub-region of Barossa). The family lived in a 20 ft camper trailer while they planted a vineyard and began setting up buildings for a small winery. The only trouble was that neither of them had any experience growing grapes or making wine!
Bob turned his first fruit sales into winemaking internships and within 2 years, Berton Vineyards was born. Fast forward a decade and he was doing well enough crushing and bottling fruit for export markets that he and 2 mates took another giant leap of faith and bought a huge Southcorp (Treasury Wine Estates) facility in Yenda, New South Wales that was selling at a closeout price!
What does a person do with a 20,000-ton capacity winery (that’s about 1.2 Million cases!!!)?? Crush every grape you grow, plus leverage 30+ years of grower relationships to produce wine that will capture the domestic AND export markets with superior quality to value. And give the wines a little bit of your own personality – like a belt buckle-like metal label that suits the retail shelf or restaurant back-bar equally well.
And wait until you taste these wines! Moscato Frizzante and Petite Sirah from the Big Rivers/Riverina GI; along with Sauv Blanc, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon from the Limestone Coast (a broader GI of Coonawarra and Padthaway). Like Bob Berton, these wines have big personalities, with serious aromatic swagger, but are well-mannered and in balance. And because they come from more humble regions, they represent stunning value for what’s in the bottle. Check out Berton Metal Label wines from Small Lot, arriving in early October. Cheers,